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  #1  
Old 01-02-2014, 07:41 PM
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Default The tip jar

So the former star bass player in my trio...she moved to Nashville and is doing quite well down there. She came up and we had her on a few gigs over the holidays. We got talking about the tip jar. She says it's a regular occurrence down South. Up here near Philadelphia, sometimes I see it, most times I don't. My typical gig pays $100.00 USD. I spend probably 1/5th of that in gas and tolls usually, and from the time I leave my house till the time I come home is at least 8 hours. Myself I think we should definitely put one out.

IYO, does it cheapen the bands vibe if a tip jar is out? I'm not sure. What do you guys think?

I think it's a good idea. If someone really is enjoying the band, what better way to express their appreciation right? I mean we get some really heartfelt comments. I think if there was a tip jar, these people would probably use it.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:49 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Some may put some cash in, but I think that if you are getting paid, then you are getting paid. If you do decide to put it out I would by no means mention it. Put it in a conspicuos place and leave it at that. They are already tipping the bar tender and waitresses and sometimes it gets to be a little too much.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:50 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

I agree...especially if the band played some requests.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:51 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Sort of like busking huh? I kind of like the idea actually. Seems like that would go over well at an open mic at a coffee house at least. The hipsters will love it.
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Old 01-02-2014, 07:57 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by GRUNTERSDAD View Post
Some may put some cash in, but I think that if you are getting paid, then you are getting paid. If you do decide to put it out I would by no means mention it. Put it in a conspicuos place and leave it at that. They are already tipping the bar tender and waitresses and sometimes it gets to be a little too much.
Oh yes definitely agree that it's very tacky to mention the tip jar. The fact that it's there is enough. As a joke sometimes we say we take requests, just write your request on the back of a 20 and it's yours lol.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:01 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

We always remind the audience to tip the waitstaff and barkeep. The tip jar is always out and so over the top decorated no mention is needed.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:09 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Most shows I see where the band is getting tipped they are not actually making money at the door. I do think It cheapens the band and I don't think I would personally do it but I say give it a try if you like the idea. To each their own. However a Merch table with some t-shirts is another good way to make some extra money. Drunk people love buying stuff.
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:28 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by larryace View Post
Oh yes definitely agree that it's very tacky to mention the tip jar. The fact that it's there is enough. As a joke sometimes we say we take requests, just write your request on the back of a 20 and it's yours lol.
I like the idea of a "request jar." Especially if you're playing with a band that's up for it, ability-wise and attitude-wise. Hype it up and make a schtick out of it. Call yourselves "The Requestors" and push the fact that tips/requests put the band on the spot, and it's kinda like a reality show in a way. Hot damn...that's a genius marketing move! Take it and run with it, and consider it my retribution for causing you to lose out on that Lenny Kravitz gig. :P
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Old 01-02-2014, 08:37 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by caddywumpus View Post
I like the idea of a "request jar." Especially if you're playing with a band that's up for it, ability-wise and attitude-wise. Hype it up and make a schtick out of it. Call yourselves "The Requestors" and push the fact that tips/requests put the band on the spot, and it's kinda like a reality show in a way. Hot damn...that's a genius marketing move! Take it and run with it, and consider it my retribution for causing you to lose out on that Lenny Kravitz gig. :P
*slow clap*

I was just waiting for an op to use that, it's just a masterstroke of a forum chop. I really hate that you have ideas I like Phil.

Good idea tho, for those with the repertoire to back it up.

We're not that good where we could do that, field all requests. If we we could get by on song snippets....then we might be able to pull that off.
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  #10  
Old 01-02-2014, 10:22 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

I have seen request jars at many single musician gigs. Like a piano bar or one man band etc. Ask for a song, and pay for it. I have also bought drinks for single musician acts at times, but still not sure of the tip jar.
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  #11  
Old 01-02-2014, 11:13 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by drummerjims View Post
Drunk people love buying stuff.
AND, they don't count their change, if you acquire my drift.... :)
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  #12  
Old 01-02-2014, 11:18 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Tip jar depends on the gig, some venues absolutely prohibit it, or any mention of soliciting tips or selling merch. But, they're usually the places that pay a good flat rate, such as casinos.

Some of my local bands have a tip jar at appropriate venues, with an occasional announcement by the leader gently requesting "gas money back to" wherever. And one venue doesn't really pay much, but encourages passing the "bucket o' love", and this is where the more imbibed patrons cough up 5s and 10s.

But I don't think it necessarily cheapens the band, as long as it's the appopriate situation. A wedding band that's getting $2500 and dinner at a reception should not be soliciting tips.

Bermuda
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  #13  
Old 01-03-2014, 12:03 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

"And they sit at the bar......and put bread in my jar....and say....man what are you doin' here"......Piano Man

Worked for Billy,..why not a request jar?I think it's high time,people started paying for music,especially ,live music again.

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  #14  
Old 01-03-2014, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

I would be curious to hear what the UK/Oz/NZ/EU people think about the idea of a tip jar for live music. I am wondering because on travel forums the tipping debate has shown that there can be quite a difference in cultural norms toward tipping depending on where you are from.
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  #15  
Old 01-03-2014, 02:18 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Every New Year's Eve we do a couple of sets for a town event that has about 15 different acts at any one time. After we finish, I always make it a point to catch this Great New Orleans singer and his band. Toward the end, he and half the band members take off their hats and march a second line up and down the aisles collecting money. People have already paid to wear a button to go to any of the shows. And each of the acts has been paid in advance.

But the organizer said as long as the buttons are sold out (plus they sell New Years party favors and food), each group can do whatever they want for extra money- sell CDs, T-shirts, dance with a hat, whatever...
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  #16  
Old 01-03-2014, 02:22 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by CCdrummer View Post
I would be curious to hear what the UK/Oz/NZ/EU people think about the idea of a tip jar for live music. I am wondering because on travel forums the tipping debate has shown that there can be quite a difference in cultural norms toward tipping depending on where you are from.

How about in Asia? I live in Taiwan, and Tipping IS a city here.... Jokes..

Seriously tho, the concept of leaving a tip of any kind doesn't exist here. Taxis, restaurants, bars, etc, no way. It just doesn't happen. And trust me, having traveled around the world, the service here is THE BEST in the world. Intuitively, that makes sense. Do your job properly, and you get paid. It also helps that workers get paid a living wage, but that's a whole other discussion...

Anyway, I've never seen a tip jar over here for any live music, and we've never brought up the idea. There are lots of buskers with a tip jar in front of them, but you have to be get a busking license to play in public.
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  #17  
Old 01-03-2014, 02:44 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Being in Oz, at least where I am, tipping is pretty rare. Sure, cafes have jars by the till but otherwise rarely do you see one.

I'm pretty confident that a tip jar here would not go over well. You would want to okay it with the venue way before the gig, but even then it could be seen as an insult. I would rather get more gigs in the future than risk the venues wrath. At most normal gigs, pub shows, festivals etc my fee is AU$200, and special events, weddings and corporate gigs it is more. That being said I feel that the pay is pretty good, and would not want to put that at risk in any way.

I agree that the way to make extra $ would be to do merch. No venues frown upon that here at all. Yes the outlay can be a bit daunting, but if it's more bucks ya want ya gotta spend some bucks to get it.
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  #18  
Old 01-03-2014, 02:55 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

I don't know. I figure if you're getting paid, then there's no need to ask for tips. But usually I've seen folks leave a tip even if there is no jar. I just try to appear "above" asking for money. But if you're in a non-paying situation, then I say it's a free-for-all because you're playing for nothing.
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  #19  
Old 01-03-2014, 02:57 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Like others said, it depends on the venue and situation. My bands put up a tip jar more often than not. One time, the owner of the venue brought out a jar for us because he was used to seeing bands with jars at his place.

I think one determining factor is whether there is a cover charge. If the patrons pay a cover, then I don't think they should be asked to tip on top of that.
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  #20  
Old 01-03-2014, 03:04 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

No tip jar for us. We do bring a box of CDs, though. We tell the crowd that if they like what they hear, they can take a CD free of charge, or if the mood strikes them, they can pay us whatever they think the CD is worth, but no more than $10.

You'd be surprised how many people pay.
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  #21  
Old 01-03-2014, 03:54 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by keepitgreen View Post
How about in Asia? I live in Taiwan, and Tipping IS a city here.... Jokes..

Seriously tho, the concept of leaving a tip of any kind doesn't exist here. Taxis, restaurants, bars, etc, no way. It just doesn't happen. And trust me, having traveled around the world, the service here is THE BEST in the world. Intuitively, that makes sense. Do your job properly, and you get paid. It also helps that workers get paid a living wage, but that's a whole other discussion...

Anyway, I've never seen a tip jar over here for any live music, and we've never brought up the idea. There are lots of buskers with a tip jar in front of them, but you have to be get a busking license to play in public.
Yeah sorry I should have said Asia as well. We were in Vietnam a couple of years ago and everyone was so nice and the service was great you just really wanted to tip them. When you did they were shocked, especially in the north.
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  #22  
Old 01-03-2014, 03:58 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

I think it used to be a good idea before everybody became uptight because everything is too expensive already.
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  #23  
Old 01-03-2014, 06:25 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

As others have mentioned, I too kinda think it depends on the venue/situation. A band I played bass in a while back generally didn't put one out, but sometimes people from the crowd would come up and ask "where's the tip jar?" while waving a 5. Something to put that 5 in would appear pretty quick…
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  #24  
Old 01-03-2014, 07:19 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

It depends on the venue down here in Texas. A lot of times bands have tips jars with the blinking light thing inside. A lot of times instead of announcing the tip jar, someone affiliated with the band - a good looking woman - will walk it around and ask for donations.

This happened a few months ago, a really great blues band played a venue near us, excellent harp player was fronting the band. The door cover was $10 but it was worth it. About half way through the evening, a really nice looking lady, who was obviously attached to someone in the band, walked around the tip jar. She coordinated her efforts during a particularly long harp solo, so it was done "in good taste." During breaks the band made sure someone from the band went around to all the tables and personally thanked the patrons for coming out. Classy move.
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Old 01-03-2014, 02:31 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by rogue_drummer View Post
During breaks the band made sure someone from the band went around to all the tables and personally thanked the patrons for coming out. Classy move.
I've done this a couple times at some of our smaller jazz gigs. Not that we were playing for tips though. It usually happens because someone mentions that a few folks want to meet the drummer or something like that.

It's mostly at retirement homes, so it's a little odd to be sort of hit on by older women.
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  #26  
Old 01-03-2014, 03:31 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

In my local scene, places that didn't pay the band would often allow for a tip jar. Sometimes this didn't amount to much, but we played several gigs in a lakeside resort town about an hour away over the summer one time, and one place had a tip bucket. The tips we got from the well-to-do clientele actually were more than the paid gig we got down the street the next week.
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  #27  
Old 01-03-2014, 07:21 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Unless the venue prohibits a tip jar, I say you're foolish for not having one out.

Cheapens the band? No.

You need to realize most ppl in the crowd don't know what's up, they don't know if its cool to tip, if its OK and most don't want to spend the effort to find out. Having a tip jar makes it clear, it shows ppl its ok to tip the band.

Bar gigs are where its at for tip jars, everyone else in a bar/club is working for tips, why should the band be excluded? Its closed minded thinking.

More than many times I've seen a person (random and friend of band) in the crowd grab the tip jar and and walk it around the place for the band, it went from nothing inside to packed full of green and everyone in the place was happy.
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  #28  
Old 01-03-2014, 08:38 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

It completely depends on the venue and situation of how you are being paid etc. We always
use it when it is appropriate.
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  #29  
Old 01-03-2014, 08:40 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

My cousin plays a lot of gigs around town here. I am going to hear him at a local brewpub tonight. He usually plays guitar and sings, and has a bass player. I am pretty sure he always has a tip jar, and does pretty well with it.

Last Friday I went to another pub and not only was there a tip jar, the wife of the guy playing went around with it between sets, shaking down the crowd. I kicked in a few bucks- the guy was pretty good, and it is nice to support live music.
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Old 01-05-2014, 09:05 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Gee, for bar gigs it's standard operating procedure around here. The fifth member of the band, Phillip. Yep, Phil the tip jar. Also the tip walk, where someone walks around the venue with the jar. One group uses an old tom with one head on it. The trick with the tip walk is to get a friendly nice person to do it, especially if they're attractive. Sometimes various people take it upon themselves to help the band and grab the tip jar for a walk, and if they're aggressive about it people can be put off. The patrons know it's coming and the venues know it's standard practice and pay accordingly. I've seen situations where the band was especially good and the take from the tip jar was double the venue pay.
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  #31  
Old 08-27-2018, 03:21 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

I think that I have to put out a tip jar, otherwise people walk up and put money in my pockets, under the mixer, all kinds of places.

At some venues I have to be discrete, so I just put out a plastic cup, no sign or anything on it.
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  #32  
Old 08-27-2018, 03:53 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by drummerjims View Post
Most shows I see where the band is getting tipped they are not actually making money at the door. I do think It cheapens the band and I don't think I would personally do it but I say give it a try if you like the idea. To each their own. However a Merch table with some t-shirts is another good way to make some extra money. Drunk people love buying stuff.
I agree with this 100%.
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  #33  
Old 08-27-2018, 05:45 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

One time a guy payed us $150 cash for playing sweet home alabama. There were 3 of us and each got 50 for playing a song we didn't like. We haggled him up from just a request that was denied to that price. Pretty sure we didn't even get the song right, but the guitar nailed the solo stuff so he was happy.

He was wearing $800 Gucci loafers a 15k rolex and a really bad shirt (that was probably also a few hundred) so we didn't really feel like we were putting him out. He tipped the bar tender the change from 2 drinks on a hundred bill that I saw, maybe more. Probably a sales or finance guy who had a big score. Possibly just a drunk rich guy.

When we finished he asked for Free Bird. We told him that was $4000.
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:55 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Originally Posted by Dr_Watso View Post
When we finished he asked for Free Bird. We told him that was $4000.

Wow, you guys are cheap.
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Old 08-27-2018, 05:58 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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Wow, you guys are cheap.
Would have been great if he wrote out the check and then saw us pull the song up on our phones to figure it out.
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Old 08-27-2018, 06:25 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

Seeing as a lot of our local summertime playing is for out-of-towners, and the pay isn't all that fantastic, we put out a tip jar unless we're specifically told not to do so.

In July, we had a gig cancel on us unexpectedly, and our guitar player finagled us a replacement gig at a local resort town on a river playing for a waterski and jetski competition awards dinner and after-party. Hmmmm, rich people who own powerboats? I'm in.

The gig was scheduled from 6 to 10, with the first two sets being lighter "behind dinner" music and the last two sets being reserved for the stay-behind party people. I had already played another gig that afternoon, so by the time 10 pm rolled around, I was pretty tuckered. We said good night and then someone handed the guitar player $100 for 30 more minutes of music. We said okay and pulled out a few more songs. Another guy pulled out another hundred for one more song. There were three or four "one more songs" like that, and then at 11 the bar owner said it was over. We doubled our pay in that last hour, plus the tips from earlier in the evening.

Moral of the story: If the clientele is well-to-do, put out a tip jar.
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  #37  
Old 08-28-2018, 04:17 AM
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Default Re: The tip jar

If you put one out, you have to put this on it:
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  #38  
Old 08-28-2018, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

We use a tip jar, especially when we are playing benefits and are not otherwise being paid. Peace and goodwill.
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  #39  
Old 08-28-2018, 02:59 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

If it's a corporate gig, a wedding, college, or any gig where there's a decent stage, then no tip jar.

If it's a brewery, winery, or bar, there's a tip jar. I think we have better luck whenever the tip jar is at the cash register as opposed to set up in front of us.
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Old 08-28-2018, 05:09 PM
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Default Re: The tip jar

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If you put one out, you have to put this on it:
Pure gold right there.
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